Alvin Miller, a local Amish young man, was the recipient of first prize from our annual membership drive, Zeiss Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars. Since I was the closest board member to Arvin, I was tasked with delivery of the bins.

Friend Su and I were out birding, were close to Millersburg, so decided to make delivery.

When we arrived at the address, we realized that we had chased a Harris’s Sparrow at this Amish farm many years ago. After checking old records we found that the bird showed up on 1/27/2007 and stayed until 5/3/2008. It had been a very cold and snowy winter so far. Only 3 of us showed up for our annual Castalia trip so we decided to stay local and chase this rarity. Over 400 birders came to see this bird!

The amazing thing about this story is that the young boy who found this rarity, among a flock of White-crowned Sparrows, was ALVIN MILLER. He is now a hard-working young man. When we showed up he had just returned from work and was totally surprised. He knew nothing about the drawing since he did not see any ads for the membership drive or has internet access. He was just renewing his membership to continue with OOS. (Out of respect for the Amish, we did not request a photo.) After reminiscing with him about the Harris’s Sparrow, seeing his smile, we said our goodbyes and went on our way.

Then, on February 18, OOS Treasurer Bruce Miller was honored to present Joy Alcalde with the 2nd Place prize from our annual membership drive!

Joy won a new pair of Vortex Optics Diamondback 8×42 binoculars. She was ecstatic to have won! She said the time could not have been any better as she will be leaving for a trip to Key West and is going to Dry Tortugas National Park! She is hoping these new binoculars will help her spot a Sooty Tern!

Congratulations, Joy! We hope these binoculars reward you with some great views of the birds for many years to come!

Third and fourth prizes were sent to Don Hollenbaugh and Ronald Baker via U S Mail.


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